Last week St. Philip’s began a new weekday Eucharist. Earlier in the year Rev. Donald started taking Wednesday Noon services for Holy Trinity. At the time we decided to put our mid-week service on hiatus. Starting earlier this week, that service is back. There are some differences though. First, we will now be meeting on Tuesdays rather than Wednesdays. Second, we moved the time from 1:00 pm to Noon. Third, and the biggest change, we will be using the Narrative Lectionary (NL) for our Scripture readings.
What is a lectionary? A lectionary is a collection of Bible readings that are pre-selected for every week of the year. It has it’s strengths and weaknesses, but one of the best things, is that it keeps preachers from getting on hobby horses where they preach a few select passages over and over. When that happens a lot of the Biblical story gets left out. However, even with the lectionary there are still large parts of the Bible that get less noticed.
What is the Narrative Lectionary? You can read more about it at the Working Preacher site, but in a nutshell, it’s a lectionary that is based on the narrative of the Biblical story. So, every year the readings begin in the early chapters of Genesis. One of the features of the Narrative Lectionary is that it lays a greater emphasis on the Old Testament readings. Another feature is that the Narrative Lectionary works on a four year cycle. The Revised Common Lectionary (RCL) is on a three year cycle. In the RCL the Gospels of Mark and John share a year. In the Narrative Lectionary each Gospel gets a full year of focus. In addition, over the summer months, the Narrative Lectionary takes special care to focus on some of the lesser read Epistles and books of the Old Testament. As well, one month of the summer features a more topical theme for the lectionary.
This is not to say that one lectionary is better than the other. It does though, give us a chance to take a fresh look at Scripture. By using it on Tuesdays, it also means that people who happen to attend both Tuesdays and Sundays will get a chance to interact with more of the Biblical story throughout the year.